Continuing professional development (CPD) is the process of keeping one’s knowledge and skills in a certain field up-to-date and growing over the course of their professional career.
It’s an ongoing commitment to learning and development that is designed to help professionals stay current, improve their performance and enhance their ability to meet the changing needs of the industry.
Continuing professional development is an essential component of a professional’s career growth, and is often required by professional associations, regulatory bodies and employers in many industries to maintain professional accreditation and certification.
The key to CPD is that it should be relevant to your professional field, and should help improve your knowledge and skills.
What qualifies as CPD?
Depending on the professional organization or accrediting body, the activities that count toward continuing professional development are different.
Most professional associations require a certain number of hours of CPD per year or per certain period, and may have specific requirements for the types of activities that qualify, such as attending conferences, workshops or taking certain types of courses.
For example, the Association for Project Management (APM) requires members to complete 35 hours of CPD within a 12-month period from your membership start date.
Some organizations may also require that CPD activities be pre-approved or certified before they will count towards a professional’s CPD requirements.
Therefore, it’s important for professionals to familiarize themselves with the specific CPD requirements for their professional association or accrediting body.
Examples of continuing professional development activities
Here are some examples of CPD activities that professionals can consider:
Conferences and webinars
Conferences, workshops, seminars, and webinars are great opportunities for continuing professional development. These events provide a platform for professionals to expand their knowledge and skills, network with other industry experts, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in their field.
Attending these events can help you to enhance your performance, improve your problem-solving skills, and develop new ideas to implement in your work.
To find opportunities for these events, you can look for industry associations, professional organizations, or online platforms that offer webinars and workshops. This list of 200+ conferences by Stova is a great example
Online courses and certifications
Taking additional education program or certifications can provide valuable knowledge and skills that can be transferable to one’s current role and enhance their performance.
Here are some examples of courses and certifications for different jobs:
- A project manager can learn Agile project management and get an industry certification, which can help with career progression.
- A journalist can learn about shorthand writing techniques to take notes faster.
- A manager can take a leadership and communications course to improve their management skills
- A sales associate can learn about revenue operations, and contribute new ideas to their company’s sales and marketing processes.
- A general programmer can take data science courses or study machine learning, and earn the certifications they need to work as a data scientist.
Reading industry publications
Industry news can help you stay informed on the latest trends and developments in your field, provide new insights and perspectives, and help you stay current with the latest information.
To find industry publications, you can research online, subscribe to relevant newsletters, or join professional organizations that offer access to industry publications.
You can also use blog and news discovery tools like Feedly to follow interesting publications.
Mentoring or coaching programs
Participating in mentoring and coaching programs can help you develop your skills and achieve your career goals.
Working with a mentor or coach can help you gain valuable insights and advice, identify areas for improvement, and develop a clear understanding of what you need to do to reach your goals.
To find mentoring and coaching opportunities, you can research online, reach out to professional organizations, or look for programs offered by your employer. GrowthMentor has a solid list of mentoring platforms to get you started.
Volunteer work is another great activity for continuing professional development. This can help you gain hands-on experience, develop new skills, and connect with other professionals in your field.
Volunteering can also help you to broaden your perspective, increase your confidence, and develop a sense of purpose.
To find volunteer opportunities, you can research online, reach out to local non-profit organizations, or look for programs offered by your employer.
It’s important to note that continuing professional development is not only beneficial to the individual professional, but also to the organization they work for. Companies that invest in the development of their employees tend to have more skilled, motivated, and engaged staff.
These benefits in turn can translate into increased productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention rates.
C ontinuing professional development can come in many forms, and can include a wide range of activities such as attending conferences, workshops, and seminars, participating in online courses and webinars, attending networking events, reading industry publications, and even volunteering and mentoring others.
It’s important for professionals to familiarize themselves with the specific CPD requirements for their professional association or accrediting body and choose activities that are relevant to their field and will improve their knowledge and skills.